Do you remember a few months ago I mentioned my friend Rosie’s website, Pamper Parcels? Well the main premise of what she does, other than pampering people of course, is ethically sourcing Fairtrade products from UK companies. It’s a massive selling point in my opinion and something I’d like to see more companies do.
Anyway, it got me thinking about my own shopping habits. I have always been of the opinion that as long as a product is good value for money, I will buy it. Whether it’s ethically sourced or not has never been a factor in my decision to buy something because let’s face it, I’m more of a BOGOF kinda gal! However, after trying out products from Rosie’s Pamper Parcels, and as I get older, I’m having more of a rethink about where and how I shop.
I questioned why I had never bought Fairtrade products before. Was it the price point (ie. too expensive) or did I have some weird idea that it wouldn’t taste as nice as my ‘regular’ purchases. You know what it’s like … you get used to buying the same things over and over and you get to a certain age where you don’t like change. OK, I got to a certain age.
Come to think of it, another reason I’m at the point where I’m prepared to rethink how I shop is because of my meeting with Oxfam recently. The whole experience has stayed with me and I can’t get the trip to the food bank out of my head. Or rather, the woman I met with her child strapped to her back.
Have I donated to a food bank since my visit? Yes. Have I visited one again? No. And I feel a bit guilty about that, because life has got in the way and I have to put the needs of my family above all else. So maybe me buying Fairtrade products now is my attempt at trying to contribute to combatting poverty (through trade), in some small way. Let’s face it, it doesn’t take much effort for me to choose a Fairtrade product over a regular one does it?
So what exactly does Fairtrade mean?
When you buy products with the FAIRTRADE Mark, you support farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and their communities. The Mark means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m taking more time to read labels, source websites and shops that sell Fairtrade products, and just try to be a bit more conscientious about how and where I spend my money. I came across Traidcraft recently that sell a wide range of products from food, to household to clothing, and I’m about to order some coffee from them so I’ll let you know what I think. It’s a good place to start. But I’d love some recommendations from you of good places to shop if you have any.
The only Fairtrade product I’ve knowingly tried so far is several variations of Montezuma chocolate … because, you know, you have to make sure you do your market research right?! And I have to say, it’s fantastic – especially the large chocolate buttons!
So, baby steps, I’ll start to be more adventurous about what I buy but I think it’s important, for me at least, not to continue to be so ignorant about what’s going on around me.